Club Concierge. That’s my term for a retention manager. Depending on the facility this could be a shared position or if payroll and activity will warrant it, this could be a full time person.

Before I get into a strategy, please consider the following;

1. Bain and Company research shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.

2. Temkin Group research shows moderate improvements in customer experience can generate an average revenue increase of 28% each year over a three year period

3. In my experience, I have seen annual attrition as high as 75% and the normal being in the 40% — 50% range. In many cases, gyms are losing half their member base every year. This puts enormous pressure on creating new membership sales.

4. I was conducting a nationwide webinar recently and most on the call acknowledged not having a defined retention strategy.

Club Concierge Job Description

The entire focus here is to reduce the member attrition percentages by nurturing new and existing members to use the gym more frequently. I’m defining nurture as helping to maintain interest and desire. The focus here is to entertain, educate, motivate, inspire and incentivize usage by using all forms of member communication (not just one source).

Here are some tips to help improve your member retention (with a club concierge);

1. It all starts with how you sell. If you sell based on features and price, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. The key to successful selling is to solve problems for people. Identify what problem they have and how you can solve it — you will have set the proper foundation.

2. Are you asking for a commitment? I see many gyms running ads that say, “Join now — no commitment.” My question is this; when is the last time someone got results at anything without making a commitment. Learn how to sell the benefits of term agreements.

3. Do you monitor member usage? This number can vary depending on the amount you charge, but generally, we want our opening person to run a report each morning of people who have used the gym 4 times or less that last 30 days. We know these will be potential problems down the road and want to be proactive in our approach, not reactive.

4. Nurturing your new members. This will help make a world of difference. We want the new members to use the gym. The goal is to get them to use the facility 20 times the first 60 days. We want to motivate, educate, inspire, incentivize and use all means to do it when it comes to connecting with the new member. Establish the habit of regular usage right off the bat.

5. Ongoing member nurturing. Here’s something I hear all too frequently in gyms; owners don’t want to contact existing members because they might remind them they are still a member and will want to cancel. Of course, that’s not the ideal business model and one that needs to change. In the end, you want to have contact will your members monthly. There are just too many ways to do this for it not to be done.

6. Entertainment business. Don’t forget this; treat this like the entertainment business. Work to keep people entertained and having fun. If they have fun, are entertained in the process and keep showing up — they will get results.

This will get you started on a successful strategy. Incentivize your Club Concierge on member usage and retention percentage…it will be well worth it. It will be like having a second sales manager, only not as expensive.

Now, go retain your members!

An Outsourced CEO, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.net orwww.jimthomasondemand.com.

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